Thursday, September 01, 2011

2012 Projections: Vancouver

The Canucks were rather impressive statistically in 2011, leading the NHL in goals for and goals against, which made them a very hot commodity for poolies during the year.

In 2012, you have to know that the rest of the Western Conference teams will be gunning for the Canucks, which may bring some of the numbers down a shade here and there, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the Sedin twins will be out of the Art Ross race, defending their titles, nor does it mean that Luongo and Schneider will be out of the race for the Jennings again.

The overall change in Vancouver was somewhat limited, only a few faces out the door, making room for only some minor adjustments, nothing major in the addition department.  This should help the transition from year to year, but without change, it may be considered a little easier to write the book on them for this season.

Daniel Sedin95Alex Edler45Roberto Luongo80
Henrik Sedin90Kevin Bieksa40Cory Schneider40
Ryan Kesler65Dan Hamhuis35
Alex Burrows60Sami Salo30
Mikael Samuelsson55Keith Ballard15
Marco Sturm45Andrew Alberts5
Mason Raymond35Aaron Rome5
Manny Malhotra30
Jannik Hansen30
Chris Higgins30
Maxim Lapierre10
Cody Hodgson25Alexander Sulzer15
Jordan Schroeder20Chris Tanev5
Mark Mancari10

Pool Worthy Forwards (Inside the top 160, 40 points)
If there is anything that really gets to the Sedin twins this season, it may be the fatigue from playing every game in the 2011 regular season and playoffs, which makes for a shorter Summer, less time to re-cooperate.  Daniel Sedin should still be in the conversation for 1st pick overall in the draft, as should Henrik Sedin, and rightly so.

New addition, Marco Sturm, should be able to provide some better secondary scoring depth, something the Canucks didn't really miss in the regular season last year, rather the playoffs.  Nevertheless, he should be able to find a spot early on with the club to earn his stripes with a few of the injuries that will likely linger into the start of the season.

If the Canucks are going to be successful in 2012, Alex Burrows and Mikael Samuelsson will need to get their goal scoring production back up to a reasonable rate or else there could be a drop off in production from the twins or someone new up with the twins before too long.

Pool Worthy Defensemen (Inside the top 80, 25 points)
The loss of Christian Ehrhoff in the off-season to free agency has potential to hurt the Canucks, but healthy seasons from the remaining top four blueliners should ease that loss quite well.  Between Edler, Bieksa, Hamhuis and Salo, there were plenty of man games lost, so any healthy turns for these four guys should make the Canucks forget about Ehrhoff and move on.

After a good playoff run, look for both Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa to be the swing men for the Canucks throughout the season, while Sami Salo remains as the power play bomb from the point.  These three should be the more exciting offensive forces for the Canucks this season.

Pool Worthy Goalies (Inside the top 40, 25 points)
In goal, it was a pretty big year for Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, with the team sticking to scheduled starts for both players, they each got their fill of points for the pool.  Luongo was one of the best starting goalies in the pool rankings, while Schneider was arguably the best back-up in the league.  I think it would be more than fair to assume that if the system isn't broken, then there is no need to fix it.

Pool Worthy Rookies
With a couple of injury question marks lingering into training camp, the Canucks may need to show off some of their top six recruits, the two that have been a few seasons in the making.  I think there is a good shot for Cody Hodgson and Jordan Schroeder to make an impression with the big club, be it in the preseason games and/or the first month of the regular season, but they would have to really sparkle to stay up with the big club and become pool worthy.

Key Injuries
Well, the names in red, Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond, will be long shots to make opening night of the regular season.  Kesler, coming off of off-season hip surgery, is rather optimistic that he'll be able to start the season with the club, while Raymond, who suffered a compression fracture of his vertebrae in the playoffs, has his four months up around the start of the season, but I have seen no updates to say that he will or he won't be ready to go.  It sounds like they won't miss too much time, if either misses time at all, but some time being missed will mean some points need to come off of their projections.

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